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  • Morning Bell: A Legal Victory on the Road to Repeal

    On October 23, 2009, a reporter asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” Speaker Pelosi shook her head dismissing the question: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” Pressed for a more substantive response later, Pelosi’s press spokesman admonished the reporter: “You can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question.”

    Yesterday, Roger Vinson, senior federal judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, found it to be a very serious question indeed. Judge Vinson characterized the Obama Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the constitutional challenge to Obamacare brought by 16 state attorneys general, four governors, two private citizens and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) as “not even a close call.” Addressing the Obama administration’s claim that Congress had the authority to enact Obamacare pursuant to the Commerce Clause, Judge Vinson wrote:

    The individual mandate applies across the board. People have no choice and there is no way to avoid it. Those who fall under the individual mandate either comply with it, or they are penalized. It is not based on an activity that they make the choice to undertake. Rather, it is based solely on citizenship and on being alive. As the nonpartisan CBO concluded sixteen years ago (when the individual mandate was considered, but not pursued during the 1994 national healthcare reform efforts): “A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”

    The Commerce Clause was not the only issue that the Obama administration lost. Judge Vinson was even harsher when addressing claims that Obamacare could be justified by Congress’ broad power to tax:

    As noted at the outset of this order, and as anyone who paid attention to the healthcare reform debate already knew, the Act was very controversial at the time of passage. … Because by far the most publicized and controversial part of the Act was the individual mandate and penalty, it would no doubt have been even more difficult to pass the penalty as a tax. Not only are taxes always unpopular, but to do so at that time would have arguably violated pledges by politicians (including the President) to not raise taxes, which could have made it that much more difficult to secure the necessary votes for passage. … Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing, after which the defenders of that legislation take an “Alice-in-Wonderland” tack and argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely, thereby circumventing the safeguard that exists to keep their broad power in check.

    The American people are fed up with the arrogance of politicians like Speaker Pelosi and President Obama who casually dismiss the limits placed on their power by the U.S. Constitution. The 20 states and the NFIB will now have the opportunity to continue the fight against this Intolerable Act at a trial beginning December 16. But the courts are just one weapon the American people have at their disposal to keep Washington in check. Whether it is in the states, in Congress, in the courts or at the ballot box, the American people are fighting back. And they will win.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    41 Responses to Morning Bell: A Legal Victory on the Road to Repeal

    1. Linda Drummond says:

      Glory!!!! Yes the American people WILL WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Gilbert Zimmerman, J says:

      You have helped draw a line in the sand. If the health insurance mandate is upheld that decision will, effectively eliminate the principle of Federalism and there will be absolutley no limit on what the Federal Government can declare. This is at the heart of our form of Constitutional Democracy.

    3. Jane D., Gold Canyon says:

      Halleluiah! Finally, a voice of reason.

    4. Dr. Michael J. Oldha says:

      Has Heritage Foundation undertaken a study on the feasibility of a constitutional convention to (1) prohibit Congress from passing laws for which they are not subject, (2) limiting terms (say, three 2-year terms for represenatives and two six-year terms for senators, (3) ending pensions for congressijnal members (House and Senate), and (4) any other ills that plague our legislative branch?

    5. KC - New Mexico says:

      Yes, this is a victory in an attempt to fix a terribly written bill. The concept is right, the approach is not. I am tired of the liberal approach that requires those who have must give to those who do not have. I do hope that the historically liberal court system will consider the desires of the majority of Americans and not just the special interests or big money.

      Now on to the more important item – our broken EDUCATION SYSTEM! As a retired educator who still teaches at the college level, I encourage all readers of Heritage to see the movie “Waiting for Superman”. This is a new documentary by Davis Guggenheim. This is a very moving documentary about our failing education system. The union is partially to blame in this case. Alternatives to public education are shown that do work for all income levels and races. If we can fix our education system, then many of the other issues that this country has will also become fixed. At least Senator Kennedy and President Bush started a measureable approach to fix this issue but we still have a long way to go. If you have children – go see this movie! It is time to demand significant change!

    6. Henry Kolacz NJ says:

      All of a sudden some people are concerned about presidential power. Were were you whan George W Bush became the decider? Where were you when he, on his own, started two wars? Where were you when he decided to bail out Wall Street? Where were you when he decided to authorize water boarding and establish GETMO? Where were you when he and vampire Chaney blew thru 3 trillion $?I don't recall them getting any kind of approval from anyone. Do you?

    7. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      My Brother – Tommy – 62 – has Lou Gehrig's disease.





      Why would the GOP want to Repeal HCare for the SICK?


    8. Judith in Michigan says:

      Perhaps the most exciting and glorious statement to be heard from DC,after the mid-term elections, will be Ms Nancy's exclamation, upon hearing she just lost the speaker's position, "Are you serious? Are you serious?"

    9. Publias Antifederali says:

      The American citizenry are so legally illiterate, it is truly shameful. Only in the most rare and specific instances, does the law impose ANY duty on an individual citizen, particularly where those duties do not involve respecting the rights and safety of others. This legislation is a horse of an ENTIRELY different color, requiring citizens, not just on a state or local level, but country-wide, to purchase goods and services. Creating a legal duty to engage in economic activity is TOTALLY unprecedented, and in fact sets a very dangerous precedent in and of itself. The vast majority of Americans don't see it this way, but if this precedent is allowed to stand, it won't be long before Congress can pass legislation to say who you MUST and who you CAN'T do business with. Controlling economic choice at the individual level is something the founders of this country never imagined, and which is repugnant to the Constitution and the principles upon which our country has existed for over two centuries!

    10. Mike, Chicago says:

      Pelosi is like Whoppi Goldberg. They can't debate the merits of an issue.

    11. Robert M. Byron&#039 says:

      Because a liberal argement can never be won by telling the truth, lying is always resorted to. If a liberal tells anyone the truth then their position will almost never be supported.

      Bob B

    12. Schaun, Houston says:

      Obama is doing a great job! he's like a strong cup of coffe! It's high time that the American people woke up to the reality of the benefits of living in a country like ours, "for the people by the people" is becoming clearer and it will be even more clear in November!

    13. Harold Schindler,Hil says:

      give that Judge a cigar

      maybe a box of the best AMERICAN cigars

    14. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Dobre utra, Tovarichi Obama, Reid, and Pelosi. Welcome to the USSA, (United Socialist States of America), only here does Obamacare make sense. Does socialism

      work? Ask the people of the Soviet Union. It works all too well, and with brutal efficiency. Ask the people of Venezuela, whose Presidente, Hugo Chavez, thinks he's

      above the law.

    15. KLIMAX Baltimore, Ma says:

      You are Damn right we will win, even if it came down to the American Citizens marching on Washington and Tar and Feathering NObama and his Puppets and then running them out of town !!!! It is about time someone in a position of authority took NObama and his puppets down a few notches !!!! NObama thinks that they can do anything they want and really does not care what the American People think or want !!! NObama also thinks because he is President he is above the law and can tell the Injustice Department to ignore civil rights when it applies to WHITE people (The Black Panther Issue) and who knows how many other cases have gone to the bottom of the pile not to be followed up on any time during this administrations term !!!! IMPEACH NOBAMA NOW !!!!!!!!

    16. Evan, Anchorage says:

      The US already has national health care, it is called the emergency room. You go get what you want, and don't pay your bill because you bought a new car instead of health insurance for your family. Who pays for it—we do–the smucks who did not buy a new car but bought health insurance instead. Obama tries to fix this problem. HF says we like it the way it is. What do you say?

    17. Bill Beil-Freeland, says:

      What about the other "Government mandate" to purchase PartD prescription coverage or pay the current Late Enrollmant Penalty"? No one seems to be talking about that one but its the very same argument and EXISTS RIGHT NOW, NOT JUST IN THE FUTURE!!

      When I purchased my first Medicare Advantage plan I purposely chose the one with Aetna that dId not provide the prescription coverage because I DIDN'T NEED IT AND STILL DON'T WANT IT BECAUSE I DON'T TAKE ANY PRESCRIPTIONS,SO WHY PAY A MONTHLY PREMIUM FOR SOMETHING I DON'T YET NEED?

      However, .

    18. Martin B. Sultan says:

      Hope fully, the american public will prevail and some sanity will be returned to the healthcare debate. Lets pray for repeal!

    19. Bill Beil-Freeland, says:

      The same constitional argument thats being made now the appeal case can also be made for the Late Enrollment Penalty I am being charged for not purchasing a perscription partD plan when I went on medicare 3 years ago. I chose a plan without prescription coverage under Medicare Advantage(Aetna) because I didn't and still don't take prescriptions and would rather pay as I go for the few that I need for colds etc. rather than be locked into a premium every month.

      When I purchased a new plan recently Medicare has been charging me a late enrollment fee because I didn't purchase a Part D plan when I turned 65. Is anyone in congress or Heritage going to fight to eliminate this, or will I pay for the rest of my life?

    20. Double Ace says:

      Finally a judge with the courage to stand up for what is right.There are too many judges who have received their positions of authority on who they know. We just had a judge appointed who stated the decisions made on the bench should take into consideration her life experiences, not what is right or weong. I am sure there are many more judges who believe the same thing but are afraid of the current administration.

    21. Rich Walton, Carmel, says:

      We are creating a monster in Washington, DC. Our leaders are creating all kinds of laws and regulations which, if not followed, will result in a fine or jail for its citizens. Healthcare is only one example. We are now working for our leaders and not the other way around. The federal government is even bullying our own state governments (witness Arizona). Nobody can stand up to their power and win, given the Congress we have. Hopefully, that will change soon and our courts may make a difference. If not, the government will continue to get bigger and we will all get smaller.

    22. Shelley Hansen, Vaca says:

      Finally, a Judge that understands the Constitution and is willing to uphold it!

    23. Drew Page, IL says:

      Just about when I had given up hope of finding reason in the judicial system, along comes senior federal judge Roger Vinson, restoring my faith. If the federal government can mandate that people have to buy anything, or face a penalty, then the powers of the federal government would truly be unlimited.. The Constitution was written specifically to prevent the federal government from having unlimited powers.

      There may be many who are unaware of that fact, or who don't like that fact, but it is, nonetheless a fact.

    24. toledofan says:

      The only way to put the brakes on the madness is for the Democrats to be removed from power starting this November. I've listened since June about the healthcare bill and no matter what anyone says, I still can't find anything that is really good about the bill. I'm tired of people saying they have no healthcare, there are so many different things, for free, already; this bill isn't going to make anything different other than to increase the costs, limit coverage, and at some point in time decide for you what treatments you can have. For all of you who think Obama care is the answer, please move out of our country and find someplace like, France, that you can be happy and think you're going to get everything for free. Even there they are changing the tune.

    25. Johann Wolfgang von says:

      Finally a Judge that can reason!

      What is the difference between the government in China mandating each individual "citizen" to purchase a set amount of cabbage and the US government requiring each individual "citizen" to purchase a US government health plan? Nothing.

      Let's make the USA "safe for democracy" like we liberated Europe from the Nazis.

    26. Alex Mavrogeorge Sr, says:

      Excellent. This judge should be heralded across the country as a hero of the American people!! Hoepfully this will continue to gain ground across the country and the courts help American citizens undo this dastardly deed done by Washington.. totally against the wishes of the American people.

    27. George, St Louis says:

      So much of the "explanation" for the discontent in the country is attributed to jobs–I think the GOP should focus on betrayal of values and basically false promises of the Democrats as another equally important factor

    28. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Ken – the fundamental difference is that you think health care is a "right" regardless of ability to pay whereas the rest of us look at it as a contract for service, If you assign it as a "right" then you have opened up Pandoras box of disaster.

      On another matter, the law suite filed by the Thomas Moore Law Center in Michigan was denied by Federal Judge Georege Caram Steeh. He maintains that there is a basis in the interstate commerce clause to require all citizens to purchase health insurance. Judge Steeh was appointed by Clinton – need I say more!

    29. Roy S. Mallmann II says:

      I have never been so discouraged or depressed when they passed this so-called healthcare reform bill. For the first time in my life the government of my own country had let me down by turning against its people forcing them to pay for others who choose not to work and get free medical insurance. The whole country is in a malaise right now worrying that this will stand. Since it looks like we will take back the government in three weeks, we have decided to go for it and expand our business, betting on repeal. I am not kidding when I say the we will have to fire at least three people if it stands. I don’t even take home the amount of the penalty. These socialists have got to go.

    30. Jill-Maine says:

      Henry. Even the dictator we have now has to get Congress to approve and vote for what he has done. Bush and Chaney did not get what they got without Congress approving it.Time to wake up.

      By the way, I am in favor of water boarding because it sure has kept us safe. I care more about keeping Americans safe then scaring terrorists. That is just a taste of their own medicine.

    31. Brad, Detroit, MI says:

      Henry from NJ wrote -

      "All of a sudden some people are concerned about presidential power. Were were you whan George W Bush became the decider? Where were you when he, on his own, started two wars? Where were you when he decided to bail out Wall Street? Where were you when he decided to authorize water boarding and establish GETMO? Where were you when he and vampire Chaney blew thru 3 trillion $?I don’t recall them getting any kind of approval from anyone. Do you?"

      Please back up your statements and questions with FACTS. Let me blow up your strawman arguments pretty quickly. The President cannot declare war. That requires an act of Congress. TARP was enacted by a Democratic controlled House and Senate. GITMO (Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba) was started in 1903. A Detention area was set up in 2002 to house radical Islamic terrorists because the threat to US National Security was too great to house them stateside. Don't resort to name calling. I didn't realize the former VP Dick Cheney slept in a coffin and only came out at night ? Again, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate control the budget – not the President and VP. In fact, since Jan. 2007 the same House/Senate has dramatically increased Federal spending over the last 3.5 years. They have accumulated more debt in 3.5 years (est. $4 Trillion) than the previous 10 combined ($1.6 Trillion). See you at the polls on Nov. 2nd to throw the morons out.

    32. Brian, IL says:

      TO: Henry Kolacz NJ on October 15th, 2010 at 10:22am said:

      Henry you ignorant fool…do you not rememebr the UN resolutions ignored that led to the Iraq war, do you not remember the congressional process and voting to go to war including statements from some about voting for the war before voting against it. Get your head out of your ass you partisan puke. These are two very different situations. The President and congress cannot bypass constitutional process to further an agenda.

    33. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Some people still believe the Health Care Bill was about Health Care. It was not. It was about the government control of Health Care and very much the destruction of it. But I like to go deeper into the problem, how it was set up to be a problem by the Progressives in the first place. We used to have a great many more Medical Schools. I trace it back to the Infiltration by Communists of the APA and AMA, they took out the accreditation committees and killed off our Medical Schools. Strike down this law, sure and if not then Repeal. But our problem is so much deeper. Look at Medicine itself, how it has been transformed into a blood sucking vampire. They want to get everybody on medication, and manage disease (at gigantic cost) instead of curing it. There is work to be done away beyond simple repeal. There is some genuine Junk Science. Get the Junk out and Medicine will be very much cheaper.

    34. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      The other thing is, to my mind the duplicity of the Obama Administration to argue against itself at two different times means there is Criminal Intent, that they knowingly operated against the Constitution. They say it is hard to prove Treason, but here is the Criminal Intent evidence and it has to be Influence, at least. "Oh! It isn't a tax!" When they knew it was a tax. The Judge has the right to be angry, this is recognizably criminal. It says they knowingly Influenced Congress, they interfered with our Constitutional Process. What can they say? "We didn't know, your Honor, we didn't read the Bill!" Well, gosh! That's criminal too! They did short circuit Representation, by not reading the Bill they did not actually Represent. It really looks de facto, one way or the other it is Treason.

    35. Dexter60, San Franci says:

      Nothing could be more clear than that the Federal Government cannot be changed into the Supreme Soviet by a mere act of Congress or the agenda of any President; the Constitution gives the means by which they should — must — be held accountable.

      This is much more fair and correct than the use of the gun and the rope, but we have that as a recognized right as well.

      I am an American and there is only one America.

    36. Dave Backs, Nashvill says:

      Hear, hear!! Come one, come all. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights is alive and well.

    37. maryanne Bell says:

      thank GOD for that wonderful judge!!!!!!! it is time to take our country back and have again ONE NATION UNDER GOD !!!!!!!!!!!!

    38. Holly, AZ says:

      Encouraging article. Smart judge!

      Posted on my Facebook page.

    39. Don Shrader, Eaton, says:

      With the elections near, I fear that if we elect Republican majorities in one or both Houses of Congress (which at this point seems likely and I support), those pursuing the repeal of Obamacare through the courts will back off in the hopes that the Congress will address the issue as the Republicans have promised to do. HOWEVER, even with Republican majorities in both Houses, I doubt they have either the clout or the intestinal fortitude to truly repeal Obamacare. Some have already stated that they need to "adjust it." When has any social program in our nation's history ever been repealed? Many in Congress will refuse repeal on the grounds that it will cause mass confusion in the healthcare industry – which is true at this point. And, will the Republicans have sufficient votes to override a Presidential veto of any bill that would rescind Obamacare? I doubt it. Thus, the best way to rescind Obamacare at this point is to have it struck down in the Courts as unconstitutional. Then, the Congress will have the clean slate they need along with a "mandate" from the American public to properly address the health care issues that can make the best health care system known to man even better.

    40. Holly, AZ says:

      To learn what doctors think about Obamacare go to
      and read the letter to patients.

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